Who reigns supreme as the best footballer on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? It’s the age-old debate really and we have the pleasure of indulging ourselves in it once more with the La Liga already underway and the El Clasico Super Copa finals beckoning.
Over the past four years, the phenomenal duo has dominated the world of football in their individual quests to be the best. In that time, the Ballon d’Or has been won once by Ronaldo and thrice consecutively by Messi. The two will go head-to-head for the prestigious award this year as well, as Ronaldo tries to wrestle the award back from Messi.
Messi seems geared up for this season after being well rested in the summer since scoring a mammoth 73 goals for his club during the course of last season. The Barcelona front man has the advantage over his adversary of not being involved in an international tournament over the summer and has been afforded sufficient time to recuperate.
The results are already beginning to show as the forward bagged a brace in another scintillating performance for the Catalans during their opening game of the La Liga campaign against Real Sociedad. Having had a good rest, a fresh and rejuvenated Lionel Messi could be an unstoppable force this season. The Argentine had claimed earlier this summer that his best is yet to come.
In stark contrast, Ronaldo’s summer was far more demanding as he captained Portugal in the European Championships where they were eliminated in the semi-finals at the hands of Spain on penalties. Ronaldo scored three important goals for his side in the tournament but was subjected to the heart-breaking experience of missing out on the finals by losing a penalty shootout.
Real Madrid faced Valencia in their first La Liga fixture and the Portuguese star was far from his best as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Only 76% of his passes were completed while none of his five shots found the target. He also attempted just three crosses of which none found a team-mate. It was a rough outing for the forward and he may take a couple of games to find his form again.
After the draw, Ronaldo stated that he and his team-mates are not in the best physical shape at the moment but that will improve soon. He suggested that he should be back to full fitness within the next couple of weeks. After the long season he endured last year and a gruelling time at the European Championships as well, perhaps the Madridista deserves to be cut a little slack for now.
Sometimes people fail to realize that Ronaldo is one of the hardest-working professionals around when it comes to keeping himself in prime condition to deliver his best. In all likelihood, he will have a swift return to full fitness and start performing at the highest level again.
|Ronaldo's and Messi's El Clasico statistics since 2009-10 season (when Ronaldo joined Real Madrid)|
However, Ronaldo will have to dig deep and force a couple of good performances out of himself as he and Messi will be facing each other twice in a week owing to the two legged Spanish Super Cup finals.
The battle between these two titans of Spanish football resumes tonight in another mouth-watering clash. Despite both players denying the existence of any sort of rivalry between them, the media and fans will always highlight their clash when they come up against each other.
Over the past meetings between the two, Messi and his side have enjoyed the greater success but on the back of a victory last time around at the Camp Nou, Real Madrid should be coming into this fixture with confidence. Also the absence of Pep Guardiola could be an advantage to Madrid as Tito Vilanova attempts to find his feet in his new role as manager.
However, the Catalans have plenty to be optimistic about as well. The opening day fixtures clearly depicted that Real Madrid are not in their prime physical state, something that is vital when facing the tiki-taka style of play. Los Blancos won the El clasico last time while operating with a miserly 28% share of possession. The reason they were still able to win that match was down to their phenomenal fitness and work-rate, aspects of their game which aren’t at their best at the moment.
Nevertheless, the ball is round and the game lasts for 90 minutes. Anything is possible and the better team on the night will triumph. Ronaldo and Messi will be central to their teams’ attack as usual and it will be interesting to see who manages to step up to the plate. Let the games begin!
Who do you think will have the better season, Ronaldo or Messi? Leave your answers in the comments section below..
How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.